Friday, 18 July 2008

A Letter To President Sarkozy

Dear Mr Sarkozy,

You are due here on the 21st of July, so let me say welcome to Ireland, the current speed bump in your plans to ensure that a more cost effective, democratically redundant, easier access to EU customers & militarily integrated European experiment. So the NO vote on Lisbon has created a few waves I imagine as you take over the EU rolling presidency, I am sure you would have preferred to take the helm of this grand ship and navigate her into a bright new future...but I guess we have been the iceberg to your Titanic.

I notice you are calling for a second vote in Ireland on the treaty, because with us being such a minority within the EU why should what we have to say rock the boat for the rest of you? The Lisbon Treaty has ensured that us small fry have little say on how things are done in the future with States being left out of the new system for up to 5 years. Of course you have worked in enough small print to ensure the larger members continue to be there on an effectively permanent basis, I guess much like the UN Security Council. Maybe not the best model for any system due to its inherent weakness, but I guess you believe that the majority know what is best for the rest of us? How American of you, big is better.

Yes, this little thing democracy has gone and messed things up. We see how some countries have upper & lower houses, one based on population then other on equal representation. One would think this is a good idea, to ensure that everyone has their say and that minorities are not overtaken by popularlist agendas. Yet with your recent calls for setting up a Mediterranean Union one is left scratching their head at what your ideas about democracy. You wish to set up a new European alliance, with EU funding, but with very limited membership by EU states (silent/observer status) yet include some very questionable regimes from around the Mediterranean. For someone who wants a more integrated EU this seems to be a novel way of going in the opposite direction. Divide & conquer comes to mind or maybe just a child throwing their toys out of the pram?

For years the UK was the problem state of the EU, always the outside causing trouble. Since the expansion to 27 states states like Poland have been equally subversive to the French centered European model, now with the prospect of Turkey joining and obviously becoming a very substantial player within the EU one can understand why you are shaking your head, this is not what you had in mind when you wanted to turn the Economic Community into something more 'cultured'.

Your ambitions of global military dominance also seems to be taking on water. First question should be why do we need a European army? Yes, it would make things cheaper like how you said just last month that you want to rent one of the UK's aircraft carriers, indeed a novel capitalist approach. Since your armed forces are so cash strapped that in this years equivalent to a defence white paper you have slashed funding and are consolidating the French armed forces. Buying just one aircraft carrier was maybe not a great idea, especially not getting the flight-deck measurements right and being unable to deploy all the aircraft it was supposed to is also a kick in the teeth.

Anyway, if all we need are defence forces then surely NATO and the combined forces of the 27 states of the EU are more then capable of fending off the obvious threat from [insert country here]. As for being able to deploy to trouble spots around the globe, why not increase your commitment to the UN peace keeping missions? Why proceed with expensive EU military integration? Think of it, every 30 man company would need an accompanying company of 27 interpretors. Europe may be a union, but this security idea is not common in any sense. France has decided to do its own thing on many fronts thus meaning you could not even launch your aircraft from the new UK carriers. Maybe this requires a bit more thought?

I welcomed your election as President as you represented a fresh & relatively youthful start for France. Yes you have had your problems and your party did poorly in the recent elections, but look at the bright side, now you have the chance to do right by Europe over the next 6 months. Europe needs France, in fact, Europe needs every single one of its members working towards a single goal. Yet if that goal is not there or not shared then maybe it is best not to push on regardless while resorting to threats and bullying tactics. United we stand and by creating division we will fall. No you may not like the option of renegotiating a new treaty, but maybe that says it all. We are all a bit tired of all the work we have to put into this experiment.

It may be time to take a step back and re-evaluate our goals and direction. There is talk of countries leaving the EMU, Italy being a prime candidate, so there are obviously major issues that need to be addressed. The European experiment should be made to work, but on Europe's terms, not on the wants of the political elites, interested parties, big business and unelected officials...since add up to the a significantly smaller number then those that voted down the Lisbon Treaty. No, lets draw the line and take the hard road, lets do what is best for the European citizenry.

Lets take a step back, take a few deep breaths and count slowly up to 10. Lets make your time in the EU presidency about building for a future together, the NO vote in Ireland was your wake up call. You know that many other countries would have voted the same way across the EU. Lets fix that before we form armies to take our common security agenda abroad. Understanding what the citizens want will do more goon then any Treaty ever could. So lets build that integrated Europe on strong foundations, not bitterness and doubt.

Who am I to say this? Just another disposal citizen of the European experiment I guess, but I sit here writing this with a cup of fair trade coffee from Africa, American peanut butter on a French baguette and Indian Bollywood soundtracks playing in the background. No, I am more then a disposal citizen of Europe, I am a citizen of this world who does not desire to live behind walls & borders but I take to heart the African proverb, "Speak softly and carry a big stick, you will go far"...

Kind regards,
A citizen